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The Rider

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I got my first car as soon as I got my driver's license. It was an old Toyota Corolla, its white paint covered with rust stains and scratches. It was my father’s old car, and he was happy to pass it on to me. And while it was not new or pretty, it was in great driving condition. My dad made sure of that.

We didn’t have much money back then, but my parents knew how much I loved driving. It wasn’t the fact that it was more comfortable than public transport, or that I wanted to show off (there was nothing to show off with anyway). It was just the driving, plain and simple. It made me feel calm.

Eventually, I graduated from a university, and much to my surprise I was offered a job with a very big company. The salary was amazing. I did not spend almost any money, other than what was necessary, because I was saving up to buy, you guessed it, a brand new car. It took me a while, and I worked my ass off, doing overtime and whatnot.

And then, one day, there it was. A shiny, new Volvo v40, with a beautiful champagne color to it. I inhaled the smell of my hard earned car, and I was ecstatic. I had the next weekend off, so I spent the day planning my road trip. My coworkers always complained about their commute, about the traffic, about how they had to make a two and a half hour drive just to see a friend. I never understood this, but maybe I was the weird one.

I had to work late that night. When I was finally done, it was just me and the security guards left in the building. I made my way to an empty parking lot and hopped in my car, a wide smile on my face. I didn’t even feel tired as I was driving home, passing the glow of the orange lights on the interstate, muted by the heavy fog. I drove carefully, letting the others pass me, their roaring engines screaming in protest of their owners' hurry.

That’s when I first saw him. Unlike many, he also drove the limit, allowing me to have a thorough look at him. Propped up on a dark motorcycle, he was wearing an elegant black leather jacket and a black helmet, with garnet stripes on it. I was mesmerized by his entire appearance. Not a moment later, a BMW flew by, almost making me hit the curb. I cursed under my breath, my hands shaking slightly. Along with the BMW, the biker was gone, too. And then I heard a distant, but unnerving noise. I knew it well. It was the sound of sudden breaking, crunching metal and shattered glass. It was a sound of a car crash, one I was inevitably going to pass by. As I approached, I slowed down a bit, not out of morbid curiosity, but to see if anybody need help, or if I should call 9-1-1.

It was the same BMW that passed me minutes earlier. It was now crushed completely, slammed into a concrete wall of a small tunnel under the overpass, its features not recognizable. Another car had already stopped and the driver was standing by it, not approaching the ruined vehicle. He was on the phone, and I assumed he was calling for help. Not that any help would be required, there was no way that whoever was inside that wreck was alive. After the initial shock of seeing the accident, something else caught my attention. The biker in black was standing right next to the ruined car, but he wasn’t doing anything. He was off his bike, but his helmet was still on, and it seemed like he was not involved in the crash.

“Maybe he also stopped to help.”

I thought to myself as I sped up a bit, but something was off. The biker looked almost too calm, and he was standing right next to what I believe was the site of the fatal car crash. I couldn’t quite brush the whole thing off, but I’ve seen my fair share of accidents, so it wasn’t like I was in shock.

From then on, I saw the biker almost every night when I would drive home from work. He would always slow down right next to me, but he never made any knowledge of my presence. I didn’t feel uneasy with him riding by me; actually, I felt safe. I tried to keep my eyes on the road as much as possible, but I also looked at him, like he was not an ordinary man on a regular motorcycle. Something about his whole appearance was so different, so inexplicable. There were two more bad crashes that week. It wasn’t by any means unusual for them to happen when the winter would creep up, with the fog and slippery, icy roads. And people were always so confident in their driving abilities, predominantly the ones with expensive cars, who thought that no signs or rules applied to them.

What was weird about the accidents was the biker. He stood by the wrecks, seemingly undeterred by blood and cars that looked like squished cans of Coca-Cola. I figured the guy might be a photographer, seeing as to how gory pictures always sold for a lot of money. I, however, have never seen him with the camera.

The weekend of my trip finally came, and I was up even before my alarm went off. I had no particular destination I was going to, but I figured I would follow the road up to the mountains and see where it would take me. It was a beautiful day, even though it was cold out, the sun was shining as bright as ever, and I quickly packed my stuff, had a cup of coffee, and was on the road in no time. The drive was incredible. Soft music playing from the radio, clear skies up ahead, what more could I wish for? I took two breaks, one for lunch in a cute little wooden cabin-turned local restaurant, and another higher up the mountains, just so I can see the sun setting, the last rays of bronze spilling over the woods and then swallowed by the sapphire sky above. I got back in the car, and set the route on the GPS for the nearest motel. It was forty minutes away.

The road was narrow, only occasionally spreading, to make way for an intersection. I was singing along some country song, when I noticed him.

The biker appeared out of nowhere. Now I was confused, if maybe a bit worried. It was okay to assume the guy lived in the same city as I did, and drove the same route as mine to work, but this was miles out of town. Was he following me?

I sped up a bit, and what happened next would forever stay burned in my memory. I was coming on to the intersection, when the biker suddenly swerved in front of me. I slammed on my brakes so hard, and shut my eyes instinctively. I knew there was no way I could have stopped in time. I expected to send the guy flying off his bike, the motorcycle crunching under my tires. Instead, I heard a collision. But it wasn’t my car.

When I opened my eyes I saw a huge truck that came from the right side of the crossroad, losing control as he was turning, and hitting the car that was going in my direction, only in the opposite lane. I screamed. If I hadn’t stopped as abruptly as I did, that would have been my car that the truck would pin up against a huge pine tree. Again, the biker stood next to the mess.

Shaking, I got out of my car, only to see the truck driver almost fall out of the door and scramble to the car he hit holding his hands over his head. It took him a moment to process what he did, but he pulled a phone from his jacket and yelled bloody murder to what I assumed was an 9-1-1 operator. He was almost face to face with the biker, but he didn’t even seem to notice him.

The biker stood still. I basically ran to the guy, unsure what exactly I wanted to do or say to him. I was only a couple of steps away from him when he raised his hand and spoke, still not taking his helmet off. And even though his words were muffled by his helmet, his voice was firm and decisive.

“Not today.”



Written by NowYouSeeMe993
Content is available under CC BY-SA